THE GOOD: The Tampa Bay Rays coming out party. The Rays entered the weekend series with the Sox with a chance to either firmly announce their arrival to the rest of the league or they could have reaffirmed the feelings of many that the Rays are still the Rays. And with that opportunity the Rays swept the defending champs and now sit in first place in the AL East. 25 games into the regular season and nobody can argue that as of right now, the Tampa Bay Rays are a legitimate playoff contender. And my fellow RAYSHEADS, the magic number sits at 138.

THE BAD: Not even we can find anything bad about this weekend.

THE TELLING: Yes, we know it was James Shields first career shutout. However, that needs an asterisk as Shields pitched 9 shutout innings last year against Baltimore. That effort is not an official shutout as the Rays failed to score in the first 9 innings and the game went extra innings with Shields taking a no-decision…Who would have thunk that the upcoming series between the Rays and the O’s would be a battle for first place in the AL East.

DEVIL RAYS WEBTOPIA

  • Correction: On Friday I incorrectly said that Dioner Navarro has twice this season forgetten to call time, leading to a runner advancing. In fact, the first occurance was Shawn Riggans, not Navi (Thanks Robert).
  • Yes. Yes it did. [Fire Brand of the American League]
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5 Comments

  1. beachterp says:

    Hopefully this is not a stupid question, but why is the magic number higher for the 1st place team and lower for the last place team. Shouldn't it be the other way around..??

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  2. Charles says:

    There is nothing sweeter this morning than sitting in an office full of Red Sox fans acknowledging that the Rays might just be for real this year.

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  3. The Professor says:

    not a dumb question.

    the numbers listed on the standings on this page are actually "elimination" numbers". the magic number for the first place team is the same as the elimination number of the second place team.

    the elimination number for the last place team is lower bc fewer games needed to eliminate them

    it is backwards from normal, but we pull these numbers from MLB.com and that is what they use. it always seemed fitting in past years because elimination numbers were more relevant for Rays fans.

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  4. Scot Gould says:

    While it is nice the Rays are tied for first - it is way to early to say "this shows that they are for real." I don't expect some of the other leading teams to keep pace. Do you really think that in September the Marlins, Athletics, Orioles or even the Cardinals will really be in the hunt for a playoff spot?

    However, its begins to confirm what I had hoped -> smart teams win games.

    One final note - Longoria's contract is being considered brilliant for the Rays and foolish for Evan. See BP:
    "Some of the recent contracts signed are completely pro-management. They completely favor the team. Look at Evan Longoria's deal, and between all the options he's tied up through age 31. I have no idea why you'd do something like that when you have a player who has the potential to win the Rookie of the Year award."
    --anonymous agent

    "Might have cost himself $40 million over the length of the contract. I can't understand it. If he's the player everyone thinks he's going to be, there will be many regrets."
    --anonymous agent (Nick Cafardo, Boston Globe)

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  5. Robert Rittner says:

    If Longoria becomes the star many think he can be, and if he is as appealing a personality as he appears to be, he could become the most popular figure in Florida sports, particularly as his contract will immunize him from charges of being a mercenary. While he certainly would be worth considerably more than his contract, there might be lots of added endorsements and other perks for him.

    I doubt it would cover the difference as he would receive them anyway should he star on the field, but the good will might add something to his advantage. Should he be a leader on a successful team and be credited as a reason the Rays move from laughing stock to annual contender, his national profile would also be enhanced.

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